Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The UN human rights expert on the 63th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba

Geneva -- On 16 May 2011 the Special Rapporteur on the situation of
human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Mr. Richard Falk,
marks the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba, the catastrophic beginning of
the Palestinian tragedy of dispossession and occupation, with the
following statement.

"I commemorate Nakba this year dismayed by the killing of demonstrators
observing the day in the occupied Palestinian territory and elsewhere in
the region. Since the Nakba on 15 May 1948 Israel has continuously
confiscated Palestinian land in order to build illegal settlements and
populate them with Israeli citizens. It is astonishing that no one in
the international community has stepped forward, after 63 years, to
coerce Israel to comply with international law. Israel's legacy of
ethnic cleansing persists, and manifests itself in an array of
challenges to the security of residency for Palestinians living under
occupation.

"The construction of the Wall inside the West Bank results in an
additional 12% of land confiscation and demolition of Palestinian homes,
in flagrant defiance of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court
of Justice.

"This past week seven Palestinian families in the West Bank village of
al-Walaja received demolition orders. This is a reminder that the Nakba
continues. Israel's pursuit of what it calls 'facts on the ground'
consistently forces Palestinians to abandon their homes, lands, and
lives, creating a reality better understood as virtual annexation.

"This is a particularly notable Nakba anniversary, as it coincides with
the release of information confirming that Israel secretly revoked as
many as 140,000 residency permits of Palestinians between 1967 and 1994.
This is not only another violation of Israel's obligations as the
Occupying Power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is also a glaring
example of several sinister schemes that Israel has employed over the
years to rid historic Palestine of its original inhabitants, in order to
make space for Israeli citizens.

"The international community needs to take urgent action to compel
Israel to end its confiscation and occupation of Palestinian land."

END

In 2008, the UN Human Rights Council designated Richard Falk (United
States of America) as the fifth Special Rapporteur on the situation of
human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. The mandate
was originally established in 1993 by the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/countries/ps/mandate/index.htm

OHCHR Country Page – Occupied Palestinian Territories:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/MENARegion/Pages/PSIndex.aspx

OHCHR Country Page – Israel:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/ILIndex.aspx

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